WWDC Keynote Unveils Some Big Improvements to Messaging in iOS 8

At today's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote presentation in San Francisco, Apple Senior VP of Software and Engineering, Craig Federighi, unveiled new features of the Messages app that most people are going to like. The improvements, which include changes to group messaging and a "tap to talk" feature, will debut with iOS 8 in the fall.

iOS 8 Messages app improvements

There are several big improvements to group messaging in iOS 8. You will be able to add and remove people from ongoing threads, rather than starting a new thread without someone, as you currently have to do. If you want to remain on a thread, but don't wish to be disturbed (and who hasn't been in this situation), there is now a

"do not disturb" feature, which is found in the new "Details" button that will be in the top right of the conversation. You will also be able to name your message threads, so you don't have to remember which threads are what by looking at the contacts involved.

If you've ever had trouble finding photos or other attachments within a long message thread, those days of endless scrolling are over. The new Messages app allows you to pull up all attachments within a thread via the "Details" button.

The iOS 8 Messages app will also allow you to share your location in your conversation. This is also available under the "Details" button. You can share your location for different amounts of time - "Share for One Hour," "Share Until End of Day," or "Share Indefinitely."

Another welcome addition is the "Tap to Talk" feature. Within a conversation you can hold down on the screen until the feature pops up, allowing you to record an audio message. The other members of the conversation will receive the clip and be able to play it back. The audio messages can be set to expire after set periods of time, so as not to take up too much space. These messages can also be heard (and replied to) from the lock screen simply by holding the phone to your ear.

Actionable notifications are also new to iOS and, while this covers a wide variety of apps, it is relevant to messaging in that you will now be able to respond to a message from within the notification. Simply pull down the notification and type in the provided box.

Look for iOS 8 to debut this fall on the iPhone 6.